Well here we are. The eve of the eve of the eve of the eve of the 91st Oscar nominations. I have to admit something, Awardocados: this year’s Oscar nominations are going to be a mess. I’m a broken record on the topic of how good of a year in film 2018 was, but that isn’t going to stop AMPAS from throwing crap from Green Book to Bohemian Rhapsody to Vice at us. It’s more than a little disheartening for someone who follows awards. Sure, I enjoy the glitz and glam and the stiff presenters and rushed, political speeches. I love the horse race and (obviously) the prognosticating. The reason I follow all of this, though, is the movies. The Oscars change lives. The validation of an Oscar nomination – or even moreso a win – cements careers. A thirty second clip of If Beale Street Could Talk on Oscars night could get seen by ten times as many people as have watched the trailer on YouTube. Heck, it could get seen by twenty times as many people as have actually shelled out to see the movie. It could change hearts and minds, something that is desperately needed in 2019 America.
The Oscars brings movies massive exposure, undeniably. The movies that the Oscars exposed me to growing up – films like Spirited Away; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; and Brokeback Mountain – were formative, and keep me hoping that a growing, diversifying, youthful Academy will start watching and championing the movies that need and deserve their attention. If membership trends continue, I think we’ll get there one day. We aren’t there yet, though. We aren’t going to hear from The Rider or Hereditary or The Hate U Give or You Were Never Really Here or Vox Lux or Sorry to Bother You or Leave No Trace on Tuesday morning. We’re certainly not going to hear from Ash Is Purest White or Asako I + II or The House That Jack Built or Climax or Non-Fiction. Hell, we’ll be lucky to hear from First Reformed or Annihilation. Do I find it hard to believe that a group of 6000-some dedicated members of the film industry could see all of the above and still put A Star Is Born in their top eight or ten films of 2018? You better bet I do. They mostly did not see the above, though, so like I said at the top, here we are.
If there’s one thing I can say about the Academy, it’s that they’re a difficult lot to predict. Reading the tea leaves gets a little easier when you look at the right precursor awards – the various guild nominations, BAFTA, a few select critics’ groups, etc. Even then, though, AMPAS always finds a way to throw you for a loop. Last year I set a personal record, correctly predicting 94 out of 118 nominations. Time to see if I can improve on that this year…!
My final predictions (and a dark horse contender in each category) are spelled out in the comments below. I’ve kept the big-ticket items separated out as usual, and tried to clump the smaller categories together broadly by theme (writing, sound, visuals, shorts). Sort by “Newest” and you’ll find the General Discussion Thread for any and all random discussions not related to specific categories or heck, maybe you want to post your own predictions in all 24 categories and put me to shame! Have at it, and I’ll see you all Tuesday morning for the unnecessary stress of the live nominations post!